Fried sardines

I mean, sure, I can get fresh sardines and fry them at home; but why should I when I can have them at just about any beach in Lebanon, with a side of tarator (tahini) sauce?


  • 1 pound of fresh sardines (bizri) or any tiny fish
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  • salt (to taste), 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • oil for frying
  • lemons, quartered
  • pita bread


  1. Mix flour, salt and cumin; place in a bowl; heat the oil for frying till 375F or very hot but not smoking.
  2. Dip the sardines in the flour and fry immediately for 2 minutes; fry the pita bread as well till golden; serve with quartered lemons and some tarator sauce on the side.

Tarator sauce:

  • 1 cup of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic mashed with salt
  1. Mix the tahini gradually with a little lemon juice, adding the water as well and the mashed garlic; mix until creamy and smooth and taste to adjust the amount of lemon or garlic to your liking; can add some chopped parsley to the sauce as well.
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  1. Posted July 7, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Oh, how I wish I could be by the beach slipping some fried sardines in my mouth. I’ll be waving at you from the beach…soon!

  2. Posted July 7, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I’d love to be by the beach too! That looks so scrumptious!



  3. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Les petites sardines fraichement pêchées sont les meilleures. Frites : chaudes ou froides, elles sont excellentes.
    A bientôt.

  4. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Not necessarily a fan of fired sardines…however, how could I not comment on those gorgeous views. Living large, aren’t we ;o)
    I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself so much.

    Ciao for now, Claudia

  5. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I love sardines….fried, grilled, cooked in escabeche, yumm
    They are nutritional power houses! Lots of protein, omega3 oils, calcium, potassium, etc. Another brilliant way of eating healthy.
    Last 4th o July we went for dinner at Delfina in the Mission District. Delfina serves California cuisine with Italian/Mediterranean flavors. One of the orders was a dish of grilled local Monterrey Bay sardines with lemon sauce….Divine!
    I am going to try your tahini tartor sauce next time I make sardines at home.

  6. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Crispy fried sardines looks yummy, looks beautiful..

  7. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Ya Joumana that picture of “Lebanese girls sunbathing” is totally out of the blue :P

  8. Posted July 7, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I love ‘em … wife, not so much … so need to figure out a strategy to sneak this one into the kitchen. Cheers!

  9. Posted July 7, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I agree Joumana! Sardines always taste better cooked by someone else and eaten by the beach. It’s the definition of ‘summer food’. But tell me, those in the photo look like anchovies no? Maybe it’s a trick of the camera but they look too small to be sardines. In Spain, they do them like this too. Boquerones fritos, as they’re known at this end of the Med. Perfect either way.

  10. Posted July 7, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Sardines with cumin sounds good! I’ve been getting into sardines lately because they are the most sustainable fish, being top dwellers and reproductively inclined, they don’t have many toxins and there are plenty of them to go around. Have been eating them straight out of the tin, but now you’ve inspired me to put them in a pan!

  11. Joumana
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    @Brian: they are sardines, the sardines in Lebanon are just tiny and cute.

  12. Posted July 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, I love that you’re enjoying such delicacies as fried fresh sardines on the beach, the rest of us will have to live vicariously, love following your trip and of course seeing what you’re eating, thanks for sharing, Patty

  13. Posted July 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Love the fried sardines…great to go with beer!

  14. Posted July 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh sigh. I want to be you for a week! Wanna trade? I mean … Baltimore has … um, crabs.

  15. Posted July 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    tu tapes dans le mile joumana avec tes sardines, j’aime beaucoup et surtout le méditérranéen, les sardines d’algérie me manquent beaucoup et dès que je vais déposer mes pieds là-bas c’est la première chose que je vais acheter.
    bisou chef joumana

  16. Posted July 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    What a gorgeous beach! I need to give sardines a try.

  17. Posted July 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Joumana I love sardines and your look awesome!! and are similar that we have here in Chile! nice recipe! gloria

  18. Posted July 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    lucky you…you can indulge yourself with wonderful foods out there…fried sardines looks incredibly delicious..thanks for sharing this recipe..will surely try this out…

  19. Posted July 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    That beach is breathtaking! My hubby would go crazy for these sardines, especially topped with the tahini sauce. I’m going to look for those cute little sardines!

  20. Posted July 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I love oily fish like sardines! And of course, any fish that’s fried is delicious. Even better when the frying is done elsewhere by somebody else!

  21. SYLVIA
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I love sardines, they are very tasty, and overall very healthy, and the bones add extra calcium, now they are becoming more widely available in L.A. It is super quick to prepare, I like how they sizzle when you cook them, and than they give up, tarator brings it to life, these sardines take me back there. The sea is the best scenery of Beirut, and very nice vacation spot, for the locals and the travelers.
    Joumana dear, I saw some frozen sour cherries in the Lebanese market the other day, maybe we can use the frozen ones. Take care, Sylvia

  22. Posted July 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Eating seafood on a beach in a far away place … you need to stop teasing!

  23. Posted July 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    tasty lil snack right there loaded with omega 3

  24. Posted July 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    These are far, far from the sardines that I know and love – sadly, out of a tin here. What beautiful, fresh, fried sardines and beach views! Quelle belle vie!

  25. Posted July 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I think the touch of cumin is so unique…I will try this for sure!

  26. Posted July 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    oh perfect beach food, enjoyed with a cocktail of course,


  27. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    This is one to make for my dad. He would absolutely go nuts over the sardines! Thanks for the recipe!

  28. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh la la, que ca me donne envie ca, des petites sardines bien croustillantes à déguster en se prélassant sur une plage…tu as bien raison, pourquoi enfumer sa cuisine avec de l’huile de friture quand on peut les déguster en plein air?

  29. Posted July 8, 2010 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Fresh sardines are absolutely GLORIOUS. Combine them with being at the beach and I’m in heaven :)

  30. Posted July 8, 2010 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    Mmmm… and they pair so well with arak!

  31. Posted July 8, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Mmm, those looke like such a tasty salty snack. The perfect thing after an afternoon of swimming at the beach, and you get the benefit of fish oils too!

  32. Posted July 8, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Great taste i think.
    It tastes like Turkey kitchen.

  33. Posted July 8, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I can just imagine how good these must taste with the sauce you made to go with them. I’ve never had a fried sardine. I think its time. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  34. Posted July 8, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful beach view and I love those fried fresh sardines with a touch of cumin!Yum!

  35. Posted July 8, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Wow- that beach is BEAUTIFUL! I’ve never had fried sardines before, but if they are salty I would probably love them!

  36. Posted July 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Such a gorgeous beach, Joumana! I’m so glad you get to have such a beautiful place to relax in. :-) I’m a recent convert to sardines and this version sounds fantastic. :-)

  37. Posted July 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely perfect! I wish I was on the beach and poolside too!

  38. Joy
    Posted July 8, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    oh these look delightful and would taste a trillion times better next to a beach :) Hope you’re having a great summer!

  39. Posted July 9, 2010 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    These tiny sardines look so crispy and delicious. I can even snack on them. Oh…I wish I’m at a sunny hot beach now!

  40. Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Take a can of sardines to the beach. Make sure they are safely harvested and in pure organic sauces.

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